Orson Welles was an odd fellow – one of the most ambitious filmmakers and genius performers ever to live. However, his life has been shrouded in reports of him being difficult or a diva, it doesn’t surprise me. I often wondered why a film didn’t actually explore this side of him. Then I discovered a wonderful little film by Richard Linklater named Me and Orson Welles, and while this film doesn’t explore Welles in his post-Citizen Kane years, it does offer some interesting insight to the man that was Orson Welles.
The film is marvellously directed, nor is it filled with remarkable talent – after all, Zac Efron isn’t exactly the thespian we’d expect in such a film. However, one aspect of this film sets it out from all other biopics – and it comes in the form of a wonderful little man named Christian McKay.
Forget about Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln or Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland – Christian McKay gives the most accurate performance of a historical figure in history – the cadences in his voice, his facial expression, his gestures and his looks – he fully encapsulates the man that was Orson Welles. It is a shame he was overlooked for any major awards as I believe he gave an equally amazing performance as Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds. If Christian ever needs a job, he could make a living starring in a series of films based on Orson Welles’ life. Just a thought
Otherwise, this film is entertaining – it is smooth, funny and a very easy watch. Efron and Claire Danes are suitably likable, and the chemistry between the cast is quite fun to watch. However, this is not going to go down as Linklater’s best work, but it is a great film that will provide two hours of solid entertainment.